Should you visit the emergency room, an urgent care facility, or go to the doctor when you aren’t feeling well? The answer isn’t always clear—each specific facility is useful for a variety of reasons and in a number of specific situations. So which one is right for you? Here’s a quick guide to help you make the right decision. And the reason it’s so important has to do with your finances; going to the ER when you don’t need to can cost you thousands of dollars you didn’t need to spend.
Which to Pick?
Emergency Room: The emergency room should be your last resort for any serious problem you have. Anything that is life-threatening or of immediate concern should be taken care of at the emergency room. For any serious chest pains you should visit the ER. If you have any signs of a stroke, you should visit the ER. If you are severely injured or notice any sudden change in your health, visit the ER. In other words, the ER is for exactly what it sounds like—emergencies. Anything less serious you can visit your doctor.
Urgent Care: Urgent care centers exist to fill the gap between a traditional doctor’s office and the emergency room. Some problems are so severe you can’t wait a week to meet with your doctor. A severe flu, a sports injury, or a worsening infection are all worth taking care of immediately. However, those problems are not life-threatening enough to warrant a costly trip to the ER. Urgent care centers are typically going to cost less than a trip to the ER, but you will receive great care just the same. Urgent care centers are also great for late-night problems, problems that seem to arise when your local doctor’s office isn’t open.
Doctor’s Office: Visit your family physician whenever you need basic health checkups or need to be seen for an illness or bit of pain. Visiting the doctor is going to cost less than any other form of healthcare (on average). If you need to get a blood test, go to your doctor’s office. If you need a vaccine or shot, visit your doctor. If you have allergies, a cold, or the flu, visit your doctor. What makes doctor’s offices even better is that many have same-day appointments for when you are really feeling poor. A place like Premier Care Pediatrics can provide you with same-day care, and care that is geared towards children. In short, visit your doctor for everyday problems and needs.
Whether you visit the ER or a doctor’s office like Premier Care Pediatrics, don’t ignore your health. The longer you wait before you take care of a problem, the more it will cost to fix (not to mention how dangerous waiting can be).